Rachel Saunders

Ceramic Artist, Vancouver Island


Rachel Saunders is a self-taught ceramicist and multimedia artist who spent her childhood in Vancouver Island, Canada. She values the beauty of small but important details, and bringing attention back to traditional forms of craft. Currently, she creates functional and purposeful objects out of clay on the island. When she’s not working, you can find her playing music, collecting natural objects and making Norwegian pancakes.





Your idea of happiness?

Still trying to figure that one out, but I think feelings of desire play a big part of it. When I am desiring something or someone, I feel alive. I'm not talking about wanting a new pair of fresh Nikes. Maybe sometimes. I just feel happy when I'm going after something that will take me to new places in life. I value stillness and contentment as well, but I am happy when I'm moving these days. 


Your idea of misery?

Flatlining and stagnation. My idea of hell. 


If not yourself, who would you be?

Maybe one of those super zen Japanese cats that balance fruit and flowers and other objects on their heads. I think I have a long way to go before reaching that kind of enlightenment.


Your heroes?

People who put in work to be better people. People who want to help themselves and others. 


What is your present state of mind?

I feel a surprising amount of peaceful clarity in my mind these days, which I wouldn't say has ever been common for me. I've been making a conscious effort to not let depression and anxiety rule my life for the past little while, and have been trying to make decisions out of love and not fear. I have a lot of supportive people around me who help me be better, and ever since I really started working with my hands almost everyday it has been a very reflective and meditative process.


Bedside table books?

Right now I have a book from the 1960's I got at a free store on a little island and went to visit in the summer about the occult. I haven't read it yet but I think it is giving me weird dreams. 


What do you do if you can’t sleep at night?

I have a bad habit of getting up and cutting my hair at 4am when I am feeling restless. Sometimes just a trim, sometimes 3 inches. It always seems like a good idea at the time, "I think giving myself bangs right now will solve all of my problems!!!", but I can really relate to Jim Morrison when he said some of the worst mistakes of his life had been haircuts. 


Do you collect?

I seem to collect natural things from different places I visit. I have a little corner in my house where I have a cow skull from Kamloops, bunches of cotton from Mississippi, an air plant I found in the trees in Mexico, some sparkly rocks from the Palm Desert. Most are smuggled home illegally in my suitcase but I just play dumb if I get caught.  


What is the strangest thing you believed as a child?

That living in the suburbs, going to private school, and a tv in your bedroom was the ultimate dream. I lived on a farm far from town and watched a lot of bad television at friend's houses which inspired these bad ideas. 


A color? 

Dusty pink. My spirit colour.


A city? 

Mexico City.


What are your plans for this weekend?

I'm going to practice playing music for my friend's wedding, probably go out dancing, and go for a hungover brunch at some point. 


A song?

That Summer Feeling (live)- Jonathan Richman, because I'm already nostalgic for summer.


Right or left handed?



What is the best dish you can cook?

Norwegian pancakes. I've been making them for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, family, friends, and lovers my entire life.


What is your middle name?

My middle name is Katerina. I don't know why.


What do you do in your free time?

I make lists of things I want to do, try and get my friends to go for oysters with me (I need more friends who like going for oysters), play music and sing, drive my Volvo station wagon up and down this island, go camping, drink wine, make little paintings, worry about things, smoke a cigarette at the beach, stuff like that :)


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